Failure is the mother of success

Plank at sunset on Kili

While I can’t say I’m not bothered by failure, I can at least recognize that very often I get some of my best stories out of failures or at least times when things didn’t go as expected.

Still, failing is hard.  It’s hard to accept.  It’s hard to admit.  It’s embarrassing.  When I failed to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro those were a mixture of the emotions I experienced—embarrassment, frustration, sadness, disappointment, but also understanding and acceptance.

The moment I realized I wasn’t going to reach the top I started crying.  I don’t cry that often so I’m not really used to it.  And, normally if I need to cry in public I try not to.  There was no holding back these tears.  They just came.  I’d exerted too much energy getting this far to utilize any effort holding back tears now.  I’d lost control of my body, physically and emotionally.  I basically cried myself down that mountain, doing the walk of shame as everyone heading up stepped aside to let me down.

They were letting me pass, but I had let myself down.

Failure is the mother of success2018-02-14T16:12:52-04:00

Plank Story: Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro

We are currently standing on Mt. Kili with the peak behind us. That’s how big the mountain is.

Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro was a spectacularly grand adventure and simultaneously self-inflicted torture.  On the first night I accidentally peed in my sleeping bag and broke my headlamp.  The sleeping bag and headlamp were both much needed tools on the mountain.

That’s me and Matt sitting on the right in the orange jacket. Photo from ready_freddy_123 on Instagram

Day Three

On Day three I wrote in my journal: When you look back on this trip as a positive experience, remember it is not.  You are miserable.  This is terrible.  You did this to yourself.  Vacation normally flies by but if you want vacation to pass slowly hike Mt. Kilimanjaro.

That was a breaking point for me.  I’d been up the first two nights shivering.  Lack of sleep and freezing nighttime temperatures forced me to figure out how I needed to get by on the mountain.  That night I put on nearly all my clothes and threw some heat warmers into my sleeping bag and finally slept.  […]

Plank Story: Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro2018-02-14T16:29:26-04:00

Tips for Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro

When I was planning my trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro, I wish I could have found a list of tips for hiking Mt Kilimanjaro to help me prepare.  What’s out there is every tour organizations plug for why they are the best at getting people to the top, but not really helpful info from someone who had done it.  For the 35,000 people who hike the mountain each year, this lack of information is a gaping hole in the internet where you can usually find answers to everything.  Everyone has a different experience, and you may discover you have different needs than I did.  But after hiking, these are the things I wish I could have known earlier.  Each of these helped make my hike better and easier.  There is no particular order here.  I’d want them all.

Tips for Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro

  • Balaclava: Bring a balaclava for the journey. A thin one like they wear in the television show Survivor works best.  This becomes a very versatile tool.  You can cover your face to protect from dust and sun.  You can cover your nose to help warm the cold air a little […]
Tips for Hiking Mt Kilimanjaro2018-02-14T16:29:00-04:00

Peabody Ducks

On our recent trip between Dallas and Nashville, which included Oklahoma City, Hot Springs and Memphis, we liked Memphis the best.  In part this was because the Peabody, an historic hotel in Memphis, may very well be one of the nicest hotels we’ve ever been in.  The place was so comfortable that I wanted to spend time in the hotel, which is not like me.  The lobby usually had a live pianist.  And ducks.   They were known for ducks in their fountain.  The Peabody Ducks.  We didn’t know this when we arrived, but we read something about it online: “Don’t miss the ducks.”  So we asked, “What’s up with the ducks?”

The Story of the Ducks

The Peabody Lobby

It turns out that in 1933, the general manager went duck hunting with decoy ducks.  After a day of drinking, he brought the ducks back, put them in the fountain, and fell asleep.  Upon rising he recalled the error of his way.  He ran to the lobby expecting the ducks to have destroyed the place.  Instead he found that all the […]

Peabody Ducks2018-02-14T16:47:10-04:00

Public Bathing and Massages in Hot Springs Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas is known for natural hot springs that are plumbed through the hotels and bathhouses positioned around bathhouse row.  This might be a little bit underappreciated today, but during Hot Springs heyday, hot running water in a building may have seemed miraculous.  My grandma who was born in 1926 once told me that the most life changing technology of her lifetime was hot running water.  We take it for granted now.

Hot Springs seems like a time capsule.  Bathhouse row came to prominence in the nineteen-teens.  As far as I can tell, some buildings did some updates in 1960, and no one has touched anything since.  It’s a cross between two distinct times.

Buckstaff Bath House

I was eager to try the public bathing experience offered at Buckstaff Bath House. (I’ve gotten braver after my Turkish bath.)  Buckstaff offers the same experience you would have received in 1912, except the attendants don’t dress as nurses.  I was game.  Matt was not.  (After his Turkish bath, I think he’s had enough strangers bathing him and public nudity for a […]

Public Bathing and Massages in Hot Springs Arkansas2018-02-14T16:46:25-04:00